Like most of the population I struggle with self-confidence. We all have our own unique reasons why we don’t feel as secure in ourselves as we would like to be. Various therapists, friends, and parents have come up with a laundry list of explanations for my self-esteem issues. Popular theories include the fact that I’m ADD, I’m an only child, I’m generally more introverted, blah blah, blah. Whatever the reasons, confidence is something that we all struggle with at one time or another. For most of us it is a constant battle, with each new day bringing new challenges to our self-worth.
Everyone wants to find a way to increase their confidence, and a lot of people say that they know the right way to do it. If you typed “How to raise my self-esteem” into Google you would be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of articles, videos, and self-help sites. And none of them would give you the same method for confidence boosting. Ultimately though, no one method is suited for everyone. We each have to find the ways of increasing our self-esteem that work for us.
But it can still be helpful to read what works for other people. And that’s what I hope this article accomplishes. I won’t pretend like I have the end-all-beat-all way to turn into the most confident person ever. I’m not a therapist or a self-help guru. I’m just a guy who’s been trying to make some positive changes in his life, and be the best version of himself. Below I’ve written about some things that have helped my confidence. Maybe these will help you too. I hope they do.
1. Be As Naked As Possible, As Often As Possible
I’m a firm believer that if you are in a situation where you are able to be naked and no negative consequences will come of it, then you should be naked. Being naked forces us to become more comfortable with our bodies. Which is important for building confidence, because even though the roots of our insecurities are usually for much deeper reasons that our physical appearance, it’s often the aspect that we fixate on.
Now I’m not saying that you have to become a stripper. Unless that’s what you really want to do; in which case I say “Grab your G-String and go work that booty my dude or dudette.” But if you ever find yourself in a situation where showing a little more skin than normal is acceptable, then why not do it?
I think that even, in fact especially, if you are alone you should try to be naked. I know this might seem a little pointless, because why go to the effort of being naked if no one is going to see? But think of it this way; if you don’t even want to be alone with your naked self, then why would anyone else want to?
If you’re ever in your apartment alone, take off your shirt, or strip down to your underwear. Hell if you’re positive that no one will be looking in, through your window, go all out in the buff. Why not? It’s not like it’s hurting anyone. And it doesn’t need to be a sexual thing. Even if you’re just hanging out at home watching Parks and Rec with a bowl of Cocoa Puffs, don’t be afraid to lose the pants.
Another thing I like to do is go commando whenever I can. People give this advice a lot to girls to help them feel sexy, but I think it can have the same effect on guys as well, provided that they keep themselves immaculate down there (which they should do anyway). It just makes you feel a lot freer and less constricted. And guys I think we can all agree that we want our little buddy to be as un-constricted as possible.
2. Voluntary Sexual Deprivation
From the moment we figure out what boners are used for guys are taught that we are supposed to be obsessed with sex, and that all of our energy should be spent in the pursuit of it. We are told that our sex drive is almost beyond our control. Robin Williams put it succinctly “God gave men a brain and a penis, but only enough blood to operate one at a time.” This idea has become so prevalent that it has been used to blame women for men raping them. And it’s created an entire rape culture.
*Side Note: The fact that we have a rape culture in this country makes me want to round house kick America in its stupid fucking face. But I digress, that’s a rant for another time.
My point is, that men aren’t generally taught how to control their sexual urges. So when you actually choose to go completely celibate, it can really help your confidence. It reminds you that you are the one in control of yourself, not your penis. And that can make you feel really good about yourself on a mental and spiritual level.
Now when I say sexual deprivation, I don’t just mean no sex. I’m talking about a couple of other things too. Which I will go into detail about now.
2a. STAY AWAY FROM THE PORN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
This one is probably a little more personal to me. I would consider myself a porn addict. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was fourteen, and I will continue to struggle with it for the rest of my life.
In early 2013 I let myself sink further into my addiction than I had in a really long time. Numerous dissertations could be (and probably have been) written on the effects of porn addiction so I will spare you the details of what it was doing to me, and I’ll skip ahead to what happened when I finally got some manner of control over it and stopped.
After only about a month of no porn I began to notice changes in myself. The big one was that overall I was more social. By cutting out porn I was cutting out something that had been a source of comfort for me for years. So it forced me to fill that hole with more healthy alternatives.
I found myself seeking out companionship more so than I had in years. And not just from women I was romantically or sexually interested in. I was talking with my coworkers more, I was going out with my friends more, I even talked with and made friends with complete strangers, which is something I never do.
Ultimately that is what porn does to people. It isolates them. And not only from romance and intimacy, it isolates them from friendship and genuine connection with people and the world at large. And I don’t think I need to talk too much about how always feeling alone can affect one’s self-esteem.
2b. No Masturbation
Again maybe this is something that is more personal to my situation but still I feel like it helped my confidence. When I gave up porn I also gave up masturbation. I went a solid two months without sex or masturbation. I went a solid two months without an orgasm.
Now to most people, this probably sounds like torture. And there were definitely times where it got pretty hard (no pun intended). But frankly I’m pretty proud of the fact that I was able to do this. And it was well worth it because it only served to reinforce every positive effects that living porn-free was having on me.
Also, when you take a conscious break from jerkin’ it, you appreciate it even more. That first time I masturbated after that two months was the most fun I’ve ever had pleasuring myself. And it wasn’t just that the actual orgasm was more intense (even though it was). I was having fun with it. I wasn’t fucking myself I was making love to myself. Without getting into the dirty details, it was awesome. And unlike after the times I would masturbate to porn, I didn’t feel empty or sad. I felt happy and fulfilled.
I suppose this is what a healthy sexuality is like.
3. Health and Fitness
I know, I know; you all are probably sick of hearing people say that you should exercise and be healthy. But there is a reason that health and fitness are a part of every self-help program. And that is because it works.
This is really one of the simplest and best ways to boost your self-confidence. When I look back I think my decision to start living as healthily as possible was the first step to getting where I am today.
Work out every day, for at least an hour. Whether it’s yoga, running, weight-lifting, martial arts, or a combination. Commit to doing some kind of intensive exercise every day. For myself I did the P90X program.
There are a million wonderful benefits to exercising. But there is one that people don’t talk about very often; one that I think is the greatest benefit. Exercising every day puts you in a self-improvement state of mind.
After only a couple weeks of P90X I found myself wanting to improve myself in many other ways. I was reading more, I was more motivated to write than I had been in a long time, I was putting more effort into my job, I started flossing (don’t act like you aren’t impressed by that). Working out every day made me want to be the best I could be in every way.
This is why everyone says that getting in shape is the first thing you need to do if you want to feel better about yourself.
3b. Healthy Diet
This world is really not made for healthy diets. We are constantly bombarded with fast food advertisements and #foodporn instagram posts. And since most people don’t have time to actually cook their food anymore, we have to go out for most of our meals. And when you go out to eat, 90% of the time the healthiest options are by far the most expensive.
And that’s why if you can resist that temptation and choose to eat healthier, you feel damn proud of yourself. And every time you make that choice, you feel a little bit better. One day you’ll have an apple for a snack instead of a bag of potato chips. The next day you’ll get a salad for lunch instead of a chicken parmesan sub. That cycle will continue; healthy choices beget more healthy choices. And constantly making those choices will make you feel great about yourself and your life.
So there you have it. These were just a few of the things I’ve done that have boosted my self-confidence. I won’t say I’m the most confident person in the world, but I’m a hell of a lot better than I was only a few months ago.